In the tiny town of Sperryville, Va., located at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains south of Front Royal, it's hard to miss the big, barn-red Sunnyside Farms Famous Rest Stop. Last summer, owners David and Maggie Cole converted a 1930s schoolhouse into a sprawling enterprise that includes a butcher shop, specialty grocery market, an ice cream/coffee cafe with housemade pies and cakes and a sizable, country-home decor department called the Farmiture.
In adjoining fields, they planted acres of pick-your-own strawberries and raspberries. There's a funky farm stand surrounded by bales of hay where the Coles sell fruit and produce from their 500-acre organic farm in nearby Washington, Va.
They didn't stop there.
On Memorial Day weekend, the couple opened the Burger Barn, a 100-seat, counter-service restaurant at the Rest Stop to spotlight their Kobe beef. The eight-ounce Kobe burger ($9.95 with choice of two sides) is exceedingly tender, flavorful and perfectly cooked to order. There is terrific potato salad. Unfortunately, three other sides -- a limp Asian cucumber salad, an overcooked and unseasoned pasta salad and a dry and boring coleslaw -- are the other choices.
A veggie burger and grilled free-range chicken sandwich are also offered. Specials, such as pork ribs or grilled fish, are listed on a blackboard. After all, this is an old schoolhouse.
Hours for the Burger Barn: Thursday through Sunday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. For the Rest Stop: Monday through Wednesday 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m Thursday through Sunday 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Sunnyside Farms Famous Rest Stop (540-987-3600) and Burger Barn (540-987-3322), 12018 Lee Highway (on Rt. 211 at the crossroads of Rt. 522), Sperryville, Va.
-- Walter Nicholls